I work in the School of Education as School Education Manager. I love everything this good world has to offer and want to make sure my two teenage daughters have the chance to appreciate this too.
My challenge
I am going meat free for the month

At the weekend, I decided to try one of Maria’s Greek recipes (thank you Maria!), a lentil vegetable curry: https://akispetretzikis.com/en/recipe/3146/fakes-me-kary-kai-lachanika

The photo looks less appetising than the one in the recipe mainly because I used red lentils instead of green ones but it was delicious and another opportunity to make nan bread again.

Lentils have now become a new firm favourite and I can see how they might become one of our new go to sources of protein.

Today was recycling day and I was astonished to see how much we have reduced our food waste by composting, from a full bin to just one bag. This challenge is definitely reaping rewards in more ways than one. 

The meat free challenge is still going remarkably well and I no longer hear my husband pining for a good old steak or counting the days to the end of the month. Maybe our habits have changed enough in the last 3 weeks to sustain them beyond the challenge?

Apart from the enjoyment of cooking with new ingredients, there has been an unexpected lightbulb moment last week: the increased amount of fruit and veg waste convinced me to compost again.

We have always grown fruit and veg in our garden and for years we used our two compost bins. And then, I’m not quite sure why, we stopped using them. Perhaps the convenience of the food waste bin introduced by the council some years ago led us to be more complacent about sorting our food waste.

I resolved to change this last week so now the family is instructed to leave all the compostable waste in a separate container – a reused ice cream tub.

Tonight’s tea was rather unremarkable (jacket potatoes and beans) so my reflections for today are on last night’s dinner: halloumi burgers with slaw. Halloumi is not a staple in our household so I was looking forward to exploring something a bit different. I hadn’t made any specific plans so opted for a last minute quick and easy dinner.

There was a snag though: no buns, no red cabbage, no radishes and no coriander in the house so a quick trip to the little supermarket round the corner was required.

Every single of those ingredients came wrapped in plastic… and it made me realise that if you have no alternative to using a supermarket for your shop, like the vast majority of people, you just cannot escape plastic.

Why would you wrap a red cabbage that has its own natural protection in plastic? But most of us don’t seem to question it; so what will it take for things to change? 

Perhaps we need to start by looking at our shopping habits; for years now we have been making our own bread – my husband makes the most delicious bread rolls so they were very much missed last night! We also buy all our fruit and veg from the greengrocers and none of it comes wrapped in plastic. For a few years we used to put all the fruit and veg in those little thin plastic bags until we realised there really was no need for all these bags so now everything goes loose in the basket except for soft veg like tomatoes and even those end up in a reusable plastic bag.

So even when you think you have good habits, there is still room for improvement. I guess I was only shocked at all the plastic in the supermarket because this is not part of my normal shop and it strikes me this needs to be much more at the forefront of our minds. In that respect, it’s been really interesting reading the blog entries from those who are trying to use less plastic.

Because of the lack of choice, I did end up buying the ingredients, convincing myself that in normal circumstances, I can make this again in a much more sustainable way. And it was delicious so…

…halloumi: yummy, plastic: not fantastic

I haven’t been able to post yet so I am playing catch up.

The meat free challenge has been going well so far, with the whole family joining in. Apart from a slight craving for meat around day 10, it’s been good fun exploring recipes using mainly pulses and lots of vegetables. There was an initial overreliance on pasta as the go to food but recently I have made more adventurous choices and cooked tofu for the first time which was a bit of a revelation. 

One of the first highlights of the challenge was to make my own nan bread which is just about the only thing I would buy from the shop to accompany our home made curries – they were SO good! I’m never buying another plastic packed nan bread from the shop.